More than a hundred innovators traveled to Krakow, Poland, to take part in the Grand Finale of EIT Jumpstarter, a pre-accelerator supported by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology. Over the last four years, more than 45 new start-ups have been created thanks to this program and over 750 entrepreneurs have been trained in Central, Eastern and Southern Europe.
The sixth edition of the EIT Jumpstarter, a pre-accelerator run by six European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) communities, has come to an end with presentations by the 42 finalists in seven different categories – health, food, raw materials, energy, urban mobility, manufacturing and the new European Bauhaus (focusing in sustainable and inclusive living spaces). The Grand Finale, which took place in Krakow this year, was a celebration of over a hundred entrepreneurs who decided to leave the laboratory and start their own business. Jumpstarter aims to push innovators out early emerging European regions* to the market.
The program’s journey lasts seven months and is based on its own methodology. Selected teams are trained and led by world-class mentors in business modeling and business planning. Ideas are carefully evaluated, and the most promising ones are qualified for the Grand Finals, where they compete for the total prize pool €200,000 and access to networking opportunities in the largest cohort of innovators in Europe – the EIT Community. Over the past six years, more than 750 innovators have joined the program with several successes, including further funding received. While some graduates are still refining their business idea, more than 45 have formalized companies and continue to grow. Bulgarian startup Green Kilometers won the Best Cross-Thematic Business Idea award, a special award for influential innovators. In cooperation with local municipalities, the company has created a system of social benefits that rewards residents for non-motorized, “green” overcoming urban distances. Benefits include tickets to cultural events, art classes and even tax breaks.
Not only startups received awards during the Grand Finale. University of Warsaw, Regional Innovation System (RIS) The EIT Food Hub was awarded the title of the Best RIS Hub. “The institution actively participated in all stages of the program, supporting teams in their development with great efficiency, as many teams trained by it advanced to the Grand Final. With the award, we would like to appreciate their very professional, precise and inspiring attitude and work– explains Anna Mihok-Peli, program coordinator of EIT Jumpstarter.
Towards a better dissemination of innovative practices
The strategic objective of this program is to make a lasting impact on the regions of Central, Eastern and Southern Europe by stimulating innovation and entrepreneurship in less developed countries facing similar challenges; they have considerable innovation potential and sharp scientific minds, but research results often stay in laboratories. At the same time, many corporate needs have not been met. To address these challenges by combining innovative solutions with articulated industry demands and the growing competitiveness of regions, the six EIT Communities have joined forces to jointly launch the EIT Jumpstarter programme. The competition is organized by EIT Health, EIT RawMaterials EIT Food, EIT InnoEnergy, EIT Manufacturing and EIT Urban Mobility. They connect enterprises, research centers and universities as partners, creating a favorable environment for the development of creative thought and innovation.
“The main objective of EIT Jumpstarter is to upskill the talent pool of emerging European countries and facilitate their accession to the pan-European ecosystem of innovation and start-ups. Next year, we will support teams from Ukraine and the Western Balkans by creating special cohorts to prevent brain drain and connect them to the EIT community ecosystem. Through EIT Jumpstarter, we promote that innovators stay local and are integrated into the local ecosystem, while having access to large pan-European networks and funding opportunities,” – He said Dora Marosvölgyi, director of Regional Strategic Innovative Projects of the EIT Community and added that due to the war, funds to support start-ups have been shifted to defense purposes, but the start-up ecosystem is still vibrant. They are still working and we offer them support by accessing our programs so that they can keep up with the pace and take advantage of their momentum.“
Full list of winners of the EIT Jumpstarter 2022 Grand Final
1st prize – Thertact (Portugal)
2nd prize – Orgavalue (Portugal)
3rd prize – Play.air (Poland)
1st prize – LiFi4Food (Spain)
2nd prize – Ribes Technologies (Poland)
3rd prize – Digital Bites (Greece)
EIT raw materials
1st prize – FarMine (Turkey)
2nd prize – EpoxCE (Spain)
3rd prize – Kodatek (Estonia)
1st prize – Solar Container Marine (Green Marine) (Spain)
2nd prize – EFC Mag (Slovenia)
3rd place – EV to go (Republic of North Macedonia)
1st prize – Quimsil (Spain)
2nd prize – Lume Label (Poland)
3rd prize – Fprint (Spain)
EIT Urban Mobility
1st prize – Bruntor (Latvia)
2nd prize – BeBeep (Montenegro)
3rd prize – Esguil (Spain)
New European Bauhaus
1st prize – Spektral Seismic Solutions (Slovenia)
2nd prize – KEEEN (Italy)
3rd prize – Hiriki (Spain)
The best multi-thematic business idea – Green Kilometers, Bulgaria
Audience Award – MaskOFF, Poland
The best business idea from the Western Balkans – FCL, Serbia
Best RIS Hub – University of Warsaw, Poland